Wednesday, 30 November 2011

The birthday dinner

On the night of my actual birthday, I had pizza for dinner...three, in fact; and as per usual, they were all homemade. I took pictures:

This pizza was a Hawaiian pizza, except that it had olives and mushrooms in addition to just ham and pineapple. It was the largest of the three.

These two were primarily cheese and broccoli pizzas, with some olives, onions, and mushrooms. I chose having cheese and broccoli pizzas for my birthday dinner because of a lyric in the Bad Lip Reading song "Morning Dew"; therefore, this is the first meal I have eaten that was inspired by a lyric (albeit one from a parody song).

I think I had a great dinner for my 21st improvement upon the burgers, fries, and eggs/beans that I chose for my dinner the preceding few birthdays. There was even plenty of pizza left over for some lunches!

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

My "Recipes": Andrew's Bagels and Cheese

Episode number thirteen of  My "Recipes" is entitled Andrew's Bagels and Cheese:

1 bagel
Gouda or cheddar

Get the bagel and put 1 or 2 or more slices of cheese on it. I recommend putting one slice of Gouda on, since it is a large cheese.
Put the cheese inside the bagel!

My verdict: I have eaten a bagel with cheese before, and it is good. The recipe is supposed to be a bagel cut in half with cheese between the slices, but it does not make that clear: first it says to put the cheese on the bagel, then it says to put it in the bagel. Now that I have clarified that little point, the meal itself is nice, even if the recipe is messy.

Finally, Gouda can come in small portions, and even if it does not, it can always be cut into smaller slices. In addition, any type of cheese can be used in this recipe, not just the two listed here.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Cakes and gifts

Three images from my birthday celebration; here are the two cakes:

The chocolate cake is on the left, and the strawberry-flavoured one on the right. Despite the amount of each cake that was eaten that day, there is still enough left of them for a couple more desserts.

 Thanks for the gifts everyone, although it was mainly my brother and myself that made the cakes!

The boxes of the digital photo frame, the pen with my name engraved on it, the Lindt chocolates, and the Thorntons chocolates. I received a box of Ferrero Rochers last year...and I am grateful to get two boxes of fine chocolates for this birthday!

This is the pen with my name engraved on it. This is not a very good picture, and my name cannot be seen, but at least it shows what the pen looks like.

Thanks for the gifts everyone, although it was my brother and myself who made the cakes!

Sunday, 27 November 2011

21st birthday celebration

Much of the morning for the 26th was spent making the final preparations for my 21st birthday other words, readying all the food. Items such as the potato salad and garlic bread (cold garlic bread is better off as leftovers, not as part of the main meal) could only be prepared on the day of the event. Fortunately, there was not any housework to do, as it had all been done over the last couple of days.

Around midday, my aunt, two younger cousins, my oldest cousin, and my grandmother all arrived to attend the celebration (they were all the ones we visited in Nottingham during August: my uncle was unable to come due to his work schedule, and my grandfather had house maintenance to oversee). We had invited other family members, but they had other reasons that they could not come (two are currently overseas).

Prior to eating, we spent time showing them around our house (none of them had visited it until yesterday), and then talking and looking at pictures. We ate at about 2:00 after all the food was laid out on the dining room table, and what a feast my mother had prepared! There were sausages, chicken, potato salad, lettuce salad, coleslaw, tomatoes, guacamole, and garlic bread...with plenty for everyone to have some of each. On top of all that were two cakes that we made a few days ago, one chocolate and one strawberry.

After eating everyone just sat and talked, waiting for the first course to settle before going on to dessert. Upon cake-time, a "2" candle was put in the strawberry cake and "1" candle was put in the chocolate one, then everybody sang Happy Birthday to me, and I blew out the candles. We all had a piece of both cakes, and they were indeed delicious. Dad entertained everyone with a few Bad Lip Reading videos as we had dessert.

I opened up my gifts after dessert. From my aunt, uncle, and cousins I received a pen with my name engraved on it and a box of Thorntons chocolates; and from my grandparents I received a digital photo frame and a box of Lindt chocolates. I have a small pen collection, so the pen with my name on it will be among my more "special" pens; and my grandparents have digital photo frames at their house, so it is good to have my own. As for the chocolates...well, I love chocolate! I thanked my family members for the presents.

Sometime around 4:30, the celebration came to an end when our relatives had to leave. They had about an hour's trip to Nottingham, possibly a bit more due to the fact it was dark outside by then. Prior to their departure, we ensured that they took home a piece of both cakes each for my grandfather and uncle to have. Once they left, we spend the rest of the evening relaxing, and we had a small meal during this time.

We all had a good time with my 21st birthday celebration. It may have been a less intense 21st birthday party than a lot of people have, but it was still a fun event. Tomorrow I shall upload the pictures of the cakes and my gifts.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Note about today

It has been a good day...the celebration went well! I will type up the day here tomorrow: for now, we are all relaxing after an exciting day.

Friday, 25 November 2011


We have spent much of today tidying up the house and cooking food, for tomorrow is the celebration of my 21st birthday. It is not the actual date of my birthday, but rather, the 26th was chosen as a good day to hold the celebration on so some relatives of mine could attend. Depending on how much time I have tomorrow, I will type of some of the events of the day, but if not, I will put up another short post and type it up the day after.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

All because we moved to the United Kingdom last year does not mean I have stopped celebrating Thanksgiving. If anything, one of the things I am thankful for is that my time in the United States and the United Kingdom has allowed me to be able to celebrate an expanded variety of occasions, and Thanksgiving itself is one of them. There were a few times in the United States where our friends took part in a British event with us, and I am looking forward to the day when we can do a similar thing in celebrating American events with people over here.

So what am I thankful for this year? Well, I am always thankful that my parents, brother, and myself are healthy; and that we all care for and about each other. I am thankful for being able to spend time with relatives both this year and last; and the Nottingham trip from three months ago is something I will not ever forget.

I am thankful that we left my grandparents' house at the beginning of the year to move to Cambridgeshire, and although the stay in Cambridgeshire was shorter than the time we spent living at my grandparents', I am thankful that we at least had the chance to experience that county. I am thankful that we have moved to Northamptonshire, and that our moves to both Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire went smoothly for the most part.

Finally, I am thankful for the new people I have met since I started this blog, and also thankful for my friend who convinced me to start my blog. You have all been great and I hope to meet more people, both in real-life and online.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

A bridge in Ely

My Dad read the following article last night, and asked if any of us recognised the bridge subject in the article and shown in the pictures:

It was the bridge that we drove under several times when we lived in Cambridgeshire, as it is located just outside Ely. We also occasionally crossed around it, and there is a brief side lane for vehicles higher than 9 feet/2.7 metres.

When we moved to Cambridgeshire, we rented a large van so we could personally ship all our belongings to our new house. On the way back to Nottinghamshire that evening (it took two trips to move everything, and it could not all be done in one day), the route we went along took us on the road where the aforementioned bridge is located: a mile or two from that bridge, we drove under another bridge, and it had height warnings, although they were higher than 2.7 metres...standards that the van easily met.

At that point, Dad tried to remember the exact height of the van (I think it was a little over 3 metres in height). We did see the warning signs to the bridge in Ely, and upon reaching it, we slowed down then took the small side lane to dodge the bridge. Dad was still unsure of the van's height, but he knew it was definitely taller than 2.7 metres, and when we measured that van later we were glad he made the decision to turn off (although he was planning to use that road before we even made it to the bridge).

It was certainly interesting to read about somebody causing an incident that we were smart enough to avoid, and according to the article, nine vehicles exceeding the bridge's height restrictions have crashed into its underside this year. This is astounding, as the side lane to dodge the bridge is not exactly hard to miss.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011


I am surprised by the amount of fog we have had here over the past week: the neighbourhood has been shrouded in fog nearly every morning and during some of the evenings. It has been years since I have seen fog this thick...any fog we had in Nottinghamshire and Cambridgeshire dissipated quickly, and was not heavy to begin with.

For the most part, the fog has not really been a problem, although it has been a minor nuisance when Dad goes to work each morning. Not when it comes to driving through it (as far as I am aware of anyway), but rather he has to use a towel to dry the mirrors and windscreen every morning.

Even so, the weather at this point is milder for us than it was this time last year: when we were still living in Nottinghamshire it was much, much colder and I think it was snowing by now. I just looked out my window, and there does not appear to be any fog outside at the moment, but as I said above, it has been more common during the mornings. It would be good to have a foggy afternoon, as I would not mind taking a walk through it.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Smudge and the Fudge Grudge

We used to have two cats, and one of them was named Smudge. A very long time ago I wrote a rhyme about him, and I thought it would be good to share it here:

My cat Smudge,
Always has a grudge,
Against a little bit of fudge.
He said:
"Fudge is made out of sludge,
So do not get me to budge.
For a little bit of fudge".

I cannot remember how old I was when I wrote this.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

My "Recipes": Andrew’s Turkey and Cheese

The twelfth episode of My "Recipes" is Andrew's Turkey and Cheese:

A packet of cooked turkey

Cook one side of the bread until goldish. 
After cooking on side of the bread put one slice of turkey on the non-cooked side of the bread. Then sprinkle cheese on the turkey.
Cook until cheese is melted.

My verdict: a relatively simple and tasty recipe. To nitpick, "goldish" should be "golden", "cooking on" should be "cooking one", and "non-cooked" should be "uncooked"; in addition, the ingredients do not specify what type of cheese yet the instructions state that the cheese should be sprinkled (implying that grated cheese should be used, though slices of cheese would work as well as grated here). Other than a few wording issues, I have no problems with this recipe.

Saturday, 19 November 2011


It occurred to me that I have not yet mentioned here that I am on Twitter. I do not use it a lot, and when I do it is often to tweet about a blog post, but if you are interested in following me over there I can be found at!/Airtoliveland.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Another one of my jokes (4)

Only have time for a joke for today's post; this one was written for Christmas 2009:

"In the final Harry Potter book, why was Potter looking for Avon? He was searching for the Deathly Darrows."

This is one of my more obscure-humoured jokes: to understand it, you not only have to have read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, but you also have to have watched a 1970s television show entitled Blake's 7. In that show, there was a character called "Avon", and he was played by the actor Paul Darrow. I have rarely used this joke outside Christmas 2009 because of its obscurity, but I think it is a good one just needs to be told in the right circumstances.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

The Oregon move

The last two posts have been move-related, and it seems I am now going to post another one! Anyway, it is now eleven years to the date that my family and I moved from Patterson, California to Medford, Oregon. I can remember us being excited about getting to see a new state (at that point, my brother and I had only lived in California and visited Nevada), although we were also saddened about leaving California, a place that had been our home for close to five years.

It was sunny and clear along the stretch of the I-5 from the Modesto area all the way up to the Rogue Valley. We had set off early, before 9:00am, and made it to Medford probably about around 5:00 in the evening, as I remember it being close to sunset when we arrived. We encountered few if any delays on our way up, and we did not rush the journey at all. It was exciting to see the "Welcome to Oregon" sign, and it was at that point that we knew the drive up was almost over: within a day we had gone from living in a valley and having mountain ranges on either side of us to actually living in the mountains...I will not forget the first time we saw our house.

To think how long ago that all happened: we did not expect that ten years on from that day we would then be getting used to living in a new country again (well, technically the old country, but the sheer amount of time we lived in the United States, plus the fact my brother and I grew up there, makes the United Kingdom seem like a totally different country). No, I am not complaining here...merely reflecting on the past and thinking about what has changed and what is still the same from back then.

Coincidentally, we met an American today, though she was not from Oregon (Tennessee, in fact). We have actually met several Americans since being back in the United Kingdom, but I did find it interesting to meet one on the anniversary of our Oregon move.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Yet more boxes

I really did think that we would not have to sort out any more boxes any time soon. We unpacked and re-packed numerous boxes when we moved to Northamptonshire, and I thought we got the job done with sorting them out and unpacking what we needed/could store around the house. Then, for a significant amount of this afternoon, we had to unpack/repack a few boxes with our books in.

In all fairness, I should not complain: I am actually glad to have some more books unpacked as the majority of them are still in boxes. Even so, box sorting is a task I thought we had finished ages ago!

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Buying the house

It was about eleven years ago when we purchased our house in Oregon. I remember the moment Mum told my brother and I that we had bought the house and that our move to a new state was imminent (neither my brother or I had been to Oregon at that point). It is hard to believe how long ago the move from California to Oregon seems like it was yesterday.

Monday, 14 November 2011

A picture of "The City"

Back in June, I wrote about "The City", a city we built out of rocks, bricks, metals, and other materials, and was situated at the front of our house in Oregon for a time. Here is a picture of it:

This was the city in its earlier days: the metal poles and some of the more broken bricks were removed not long after this image was taken. The tallest tower on the left was moved to where the long metal pole in the middle is located in the picture; in addition to being moved it was subsequently "upgraded", and at one point stood at over four feet in height. Various other buildings were also added, but unfortunately, the only pictures we have of the city in its later days are all on photographic paper and have not yet been scanned for digital storage.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

"Cameo Lover" - Kimbra

While on YouTube a few days ago, a song called "Cameo Lover" by a New Zealand artist named Kimbra was in the recommendations of a video I was watching. I decided to click on the link and listen to her song.

Once "Cameo Lover" had finished, I was glad I had come across a link to the song: I liked the style of the music and Kimbra's voice, and a couple of other songs of hers that I listened to were also good. The only problem I found was that her debut album, Vows, does not appear to have been released here in the United Kingdom yet, but that may change one day.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

My "Recipes": Andrew’s Salad

Episode eleven of My "Recipes" is entitled Andrew's Salad. It is not to be confused with the earlier recipe, Andrew's Very Health Salad.

1 bag of baby carrots (small carrots!)
5 sticks of celery
3 tomatoes
1 bag of broccoli
1 onion
1 big bottle of Hidden Valley Ranch not low fat or no fat
5 tsp. of garlic salt

How to make it:

Pour ½ of the bags of vegetables in the bowl and chop all the other vegetables up,
In fact chop all the vegetables up!
Then add ½ of the ranch then add the garlic salt.
Garlic salt and ranch is optional.

My verdict: a salad made up of carrots, celery, tomato, broccoli, and an onion (I am guessing a bulb onion here, rather than spring onions) would certainly be different to the regular lettuce salads. This recipe seems okay, although any type of salad dressing could be used, rather than a particular brand.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Skype fun

My Dad installed Skype on his computer earlier so he could test a new webcam. I decided to have a little bit of fun when he started a video call to my account.

He was talking, commenting how the quality looked good from his camera and was asking how it looked from mine when Oregon Trail II music started playing from my end of the call. He was surprised by this, and then I came down to listen to how the tunes sounded through Skype. We listened to Oregon Trail II tunes over Skype for about five minutes.

Now that I think about it, this does not actually sound very funny when typed up, but I can assure you that this was surprisingly hilarious while it happened (it was the whole scenario of listening to Oregon Trail II through Skype that made us laugh, as it was so bizarre).

Thursday, 10 November 2011

The orangutan and the boy

I came across the following article this morning, and thought it was a gentle, light-hearted piece:

Do not worry, the boy was behind the glass, and there was no danger to either him or the orangutan. It is just a fun little article.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Amusing comments

I nearly always laugh whenever I come across an article on pop culture, such as something about a band splitting up/coming back together, what the number one song of the week is, the latest celebrity, or Justin Bieber. I am not normally laughing at the contents of the article, rather, I am laughing at some of the comments the article often comes with.

Unless they contain attacks, I am amused with the "who cares?" comments: I find it downright hilarious when the first five comments on a pop culture article are all "who cares about this? I don't!", and the sixth commenter points out to the rest that they must have cared enough to say they do not care about the topic of the article. At the same time, I do wonder if these people honestly do not realise what they have posted, or if posting trolling comments is something they find fun. Still, they do provide a minor source of amusement.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

The mystery kit

My brother and I used to have a large wooden clothes drawer. However, rather than just being a place to store a large amount of our clothes, it doubled as a piece of furniture I decorated with stickers that came in the mail  (yes, I really did used to have a place to put stickers). The front top drawer and one of the piece of furniture's sides were both covered in stickers; neatly, of course, as I wanted the decorations to at least look good.

Sometime back in either 2001 or 2002, a letter arrived in the mail informing us that we may have won a certain type of mystery kit, aimed at kids 10+. The kit was free, but the type of mystery kit we would receive depended on what type of "key" the letter contained: if it had a sticker showing a silver key, it would be a basic kit; but if it was a sticker with a gold key on it, we would receive comprehensive mystery kit (I cannot remember what the contents in either kit were, it has been a long time since then). Once either key had been mailed back, you would then receive the kit. I should note here that the letter was not had just come with something else we were subscribed to at the time.

With the sticker of the gold key in the letter, we had won a comprehensive mystery kit! It was not really something we needed, but it was suited for people of my age at that time, and it could have been a lot of fun. So...what did I decide to do instead?

That is right! I threw the chance away by placing the sticker with the golden key, along with a few other stickers that came in the letter, on our clothes drawer. Rather than taking the opportunity to win a neat new item, I decided to add to my sticker collection.

It the grand scheme of things, not getting a mystery kit was not that big of a deal, but when I look back upon the whole occasion I still think I was a chump for not mailing back the gold key sticker. On the bright side, the sticker lasted on the clothes drawer until sometime in 2009 when Mum had to remove all my stickers so the furniture could be sold.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Another one of my jokes (3)

Only have enough time for a joke for today's post. This one was written for Christmas 2007:

"How does Harry Potter get out of paying bills? By going to the Order of the Fee-nix."

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Non-stop fireworks

For close to two weeks, there have been fireworks going off nearly every night. Even now, as I type this, I can hear fireworks. Prior to Halloween, the fireworks were probably being let off because of Diwali, then they were likely being launched in anticipation of Halloween itself. After that, the reason for them being used was the run-up to a celebration here in the United Kingdom called Guy Fawkes Night, and then Guy Fawkes Night itself. As for tonight, I have no idea why they are still going on, other than the fact that some people probably still have some fireworks left over!

Have no worries, I am not suddenly opposed to celebrations: however, hearing fireworks nearly every night for close to two weeks can get somewhat irritating. On the other hand, these people are having a good time, so perhaps I should not let it bother me too much.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Middle Eastern landscapes

When I was about eleven or twelve and had not learned much about the Middle East, from what I had heard about the place I assumed the entire region was flat and nothing more than desert. It was not a case of bias, but instead a lack of understanding; I took the time to correct my ignorance by doing some research into the landscape of the Middle East, and was pleasantly surprised with what I found out.

While I have had a better understanding of Middle Eastern geography and landscape for several years now, I had to go looking for some example images to include here this afternoon. To start with, I looked at some parts of Turkey. One impressive piece of geography I quickly came across was the Pontic Mountain range, located in Northern Turkey. In one of the images I saw of them, if I did not know better I would have thought they were somewhere in Oregon:

Another place in Turkey I found was the beach city of Alanya on the southern coast. It clearly does not look like a place in Oregon, but it certainly is not a desert nor is it flat either:

Going south to Israel, this picture of the Aminadav Forest looks quiet and pretty, and possibly a nice place to take a walk judging from the path. The flowers in springtime must be beautiful there:

The Rainbow Cave located in Israel’s Galilee region, is an extraordinary part of nature, and it is what is called a “natural arch”. The stream it is near is called the Nahal Betzet.

In neighbouring Jordan, this stream and the surrounding woods, located near the city of Salt, look exactly like much of the forestland I remember in Oregon:

Now going over to Iran, the following image is of the Shirabad Waterfall in the north-eastern part of the country. It is just as beautiful as all the other examples I have listed here:

Finally, this picture shows Tehran and its surroundings completely covered in snow. It is only in the last couple of years I learnt that Tehran can receive a substantial amount of snowfall, and Iran itself has a large amount of ski resorts. This image is a spectacular view of the landscape:

The Middle East is a truly diverse place geographically, and as I noted above, some parts of it even look similar to areas of North America (yes, I did single out Oregon, but there are more places across the continent the region has resemblances to). It is not all flat and desert…not by a long shot, and it does disappoint me when some people assume it is (I have heard this same misconception be applied to all of Africa, too). Every region of the world has its natural beauty, and none of it should be dismissed so readily.

Friday, 4 November 2011

CD surprise tracks

Going back to another previous post of mine here, to when I wrote about buying CDs and why I preferred CDs to downloads. Another reason CDs are more fun and will remain so occurred to me this afternoon:

Back in the early nineties, my Dad bought the album Very by the Pet Shop Boys. For a few years after purchasing the CD, he wondered why the player would keep going once the last track, "Go West", had finished. As such, he assumed it was some odd bug with the CD, and so stopped the player manually. One day, he did not do this, and about three minutes after the end of "Go West", he heard the 30-second "Ecstasy (Postscript)" hidden bonus track. The mystery was solved, and from then on whenever Very has been played the bonus segment has been allowed to play and the album able to finish.

Unfortunately, downloaded music puts an end to the fun of quirky little bonus tracks like "Ecstasy (Postscript)", or similar instances such as the remix of "I Am" after "Why Not" on Hilary Duff's Most Wanted and "Chivas" after "Irvine" on Kelly Clarkson's My December. The places where you can buy music to download almost always show track times, and if the last song on an album is significantly longer than all the other tracks, chances are there is a bonus song included in that time, but no longer any surprise of a hidden track remaining.

Still, with music now being downloaded more than ever these days, I am curious to see how many artists will continue to include hidden tracks on their albums. I hope these artists keep it up, although I will understand if they do not.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

"What Am I Doing Here" - Jordan Hill

Back in mid-October, I wrote an article about the singer Jordan Hill, and one of the songs of hers that I mentioned was "What Am I Doing Here". Here is a link to that song:

It is a beautiful song: I am really glad it was included on Rhythm Of The Games: 1996 Olympic Games Album, otherwise I would likely not have heard of her.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

My "Recipes": Andrew's Mother's Day Breakfast

The tenth episode of My "Recipes", entitled Andrew's Mother's Day Breakfast:

2 Sausages or 2 slices of bacon
1 slice of toast or one waffle
2 eggs or 1 egg
coffee or fruit juice

How to make it:


My verdict: cool! I can make it ANY way I like! In that case, I will dip the raw sausages/bacon in my coffee/fruit juice, and put the uncooked egg(s) on my toast/waffle! Sounds great to me! Er, no, it does not, I would be sick. Blech.

Joking aside, this recipe is the most unhelpful yet: it has two sets of ingredients, essentially making it two recipes (or more, depending on which ingredients you use). It also evades explaining the preparation by telling the reader to make it “any way they like”.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Web dew

This is a picture my brother took a few weeks ago of a spider's web covered in dew:

Thanks to the dew, the web was visible from afar (well, twenty or thirty feet away). We have seen bigger webs covered in dew, but we were not able to take any pictures of them.